Friday, January 8, 2010

Mid-season Report Cards

Okay so it's a bit past mid-season and if I could forget the past few games, I totally would...but I can't, so here are my mid-season and three games grades.


Phil Kessel

32 GP / 14 G / 8 A / 22 PTS / -2

Kessel is still by far the most talented player on this team. If it wasn't for his hot start, we might be battling Carolina for last. Instead, we are battling the Flyers, Thrashers, Lightning and Panthers for second last. Kessel was off to a blazing start with his new club and scored at pretty much a point a game pace. Unfortunately, the last 10 games happened where he's only gotten 1 point in that stretch. He can definitely make things happen but he has to play stronger with the puck. Brian Burke, please get him an elite centre!

Grade: B+

Matt Stajan

43 GP / 11 G / 21 A / 32 PTs / -2

Matt Stajan is not a number one centre...but with the depth we have up the middle, he's probably the closest thing we have. Most of his points came during Kessel's hot stretch and when Kessel cooled off, so did he; only notching 4 points in the last 10. While he is on pace to record career highs in his offensive totals, his career highs weren't all that impressive to begin with.

Grade: C+

Niklas Hagman

43 GP / 16 G / 11 A / 27 PTS / -1

While there are a ton of things I like about Hagman's game, I expected more from him in terms of his offensive numbers. He's a streaky scorer, notching 13 points in 12 games beginning late November. Since then, he has only gotten 3 points in his next 12. For the past couple of games he has seen fourth line minutes. As one of the veteran forwards on this team, I would like to see him respond to his demotion but driving hard to the net and doing anything to get the puck over the goal line.

Grade: C

Jason Blake

44 GP / 10 G / 15 A / 25 PTS / -1

Jason Blake was horrible to start the year. It took him 27 games to score his 3rd and 4th goals. He has picked things up slightly since then but still not good enough to be a factor most nights. While he will never earn that $4.5 million, he could still be a decent hockey player (as we saw last year). Only 2 more seasons after this one!...

Grade: D+

Mikhael Grabovski

42 GP / 7 G / 18 A / 25 PTS / -1

Like most, I was expecting a break out season for Grabovski. I wasn't looking for a point a game or anything but I didn't think 60 points would be out of the question. Unfortunately, with him being out for the next 6 weeks, it doesn't look like it will happen. Didn't look like it would happen regardless though. His play has been streaky and I would even say he looked disinterested some nights. I blame the peace treaty between him and the Kostitsyns! We want crazy Grabs!

Grade: C-

Lee Stempniak

44 GP / 11 G / 12 A / 23 PTS / -5

I was actually surprised by Stempniak's points total when I checked out his stats. I thought he would have more. I guess this speaks well for him because I actually notice him this season. He's been one of the better Leafs forwards, in my opinion. His play has gotten him some good chances but he just hasn't been able to capitalize on all of them. I do hope that he regains his scoring touch that he had in St. Louis where he scored 27 goals in his sophomore season.

Grade: B-

Nikolai Kulemin

40 GP / 7 G / 7 A /14 PTS / -2

Kulemin is what I would consider a no stats all-star. Well, all-star might be a bit of a stretch but you get the gist of what I'm saying. He's been physical, he back checks and he takes a hit to make a play. When I first heard he was coming over from Russia and played on the same line as Malkin, I figured he would be a one dimensional scorer. Thankfully he isn't...but I would like to see more of that scoring dimension!

Grade: B

Alexei Ponikarovsky

44 GP / 15 G / 14 A / 29 PTS / +4

Poni had a great season last year and I was really hoping to see him build on that. With higher expectations over his head he hasn't really delivered. I would like to see Poni use his size and play more assertively. He has the frame to drive to the net and when he does, good things usually happen. With a team full of negatives, it's nice to finally see a plus player. With 4 points in his last 5, it certainly isn't too late to turn things around. It's a contract year, Poni. Show us what you got!

Grade: C

Colton Orr

44 GP / 1 G / 2 A / 3 PTS / -3 / 86 PIM
Orr's been fantastic. I love watching him fight and he doesn't really hurt the team much either. He doesn't take a ton of bad penalties unlike a lot of enforcers/pests and he's a tremendous forechecker. He also scored a goal! That's one more than Rickard Wallin...

Grade: B+

Jamal Mayers

32 GP / 1 G / 4 A / 5 PTS / -3

Mayers is one of those players that I can't quite figure out. What is his purpose? Why is he playing? Can we get our 5th pick back? While I do enjoy watching him throw down, I would much rather give a kid like Christian Hanson a chance with the big club than to dress Mayers.

Grade: D+

Wayne Primeau

35 GP / 2 G / 3 A / 5 PTS / +1

Another plus player on this team! Primeau has been a solid addition to the team. He won't light the world on fire with his game but he's all you can ask for from a 4th liner. That said, if I could trade him for Stralman, I would.

Grade: B

Viktor Stalberg

14 GP / 2 G / 1 A / 3 PTS / -3

Here's a player Leafs Nation fell in love with during the pre-season. This pretty much shows you that the games played before 1-82 doesn't mean a thing. While Stalberg tore up the pre-season, his regular season stats to start the year was less than impressive, registering a lone assist in 8 games. On his current stint with the Leafs, he's scored 2 goals in 6. While an improvement, still not enough to draw the ooh's and ahh's he did in September. I have no doubt that Stalberg will be quite the player someday. We'll just have to wait patiently for that day to come.

Grade: C

John Mitchell

24 GP / 2 G / 7 A / 9 PTS / -6

In my opinion, John Mitchell will forever be a fringe NHL third liner. While he has decent hands, he doesn't seem to possess the shot to finish. Being injured for close to 20 games does set him back a bit but I can't say my expectations for Mitchell were too high anyway.

Grade: C

Rickard Wallin

32 GP / 0 G / 3 A / 3 PTS / -6

Did Wallin really bring Gustavsson over? If I remember correctly, The Monster was signed before Wallin. So what purpose does he bring to the table? Through half a season, I honestly can't think of a single reason why he is still on the team. You know you're terrible when Colton Orr is outscoring you.

Grade: F

Tomas Kaberle

44 GP / 4 G / 34 A / 38 PTS / -7

Kaberle's never been much of a defender but he's having a blistering season offensively. He leads the team in points and is second in the league in scoring for defencemen. While that -7 is an ugly number, I have to give it to him for his consistent offensive output. I wouldn't be surprised to see him moved at the deadline though. Especially if a package included a much needed first round pick.

Grade: A-

Mike Komisarek

34 GP / 0 G / 4 A / 4 PTS / -9

Komisarek was one of two big free agent defencemen brought in and the pressure to perform seemed to have gotten to him as he started the season pretty poorly. He played overly aggressive and was a negative most nights. His game has settled down a bit since but still not quite the in-your-face defender that I hated playing against when he was on the Habs.

Grade: C+

Francois Beauchemin

44 GP / 4 G / 15 A / 19 PTS / -8

The second big free agent signing was another disappointment to start the season. Beauchemin was at one point a season low -13 but playing that many games with Toskala in net doesn't help. He has definitely picked his game up on both the defensive and offensive ends though and I'm certain he will continue his strong play in the second half.

Grade: B

Ian White

44 GP / 8 G / 14 A / 22 PTS / +7

How does a team with every defenceman in the negatives have one that is +7?! Over the past season and a half, Ian White has shown how valuable he really is. He puts up decent offensive numbers and plays sound positional defence. While he isn't the biggest guy on the ice, he is quick with his stick and doesn't leave his man alone too often. Re-sign Ian White!

Grade: A+

Luke Schenn

41 GP / 1 G / 4 A / 5 PTS / -1

I have to say that Luke Schenn has been playing more like Luke Schenn than he has like OLAS this season. He's been hesitant and second guesses himself at times. In a game of inches, that little pause can mean a clean break out pass or a turn over for a goal. I was really hoping to see a more physical player this year with a slightly improved offensive game but instead his defensive game remained the same, if not a little worse and Schenn hasn't really shown any offensive improvements either. I definitely haven't given up on him but he's certainly be a slight disappointment so far.

Grade: C-

Jeff Finger

25 GP / 2 G / 7 A / 9 PTS / -10

On a team filled with negatives, Finger has the lowest with a -10! What's more impressive is that he did it in about half as many games. He still plays a physical brand of defence but I remember him going down to block shots a lot more last season. For somebody fighting for that 5th/6th spot, I expected to see more out of him.

Grade: C-

Garnet Exelby

24 GP / 0 G / 3 A / 3 PTS / -3

On the bright side, he has the same amount of points as Rickard Wallin! That's about it though...Exelby flat out sucks. He's a train wreck on defence and looks for that big hit too often...even if it will compromise his defensive position and lead to an odd-man rush.

Grade: F


Vesa Toskala

6-8-2 / 3.72 GAA / .869 Save %

This really needs no explanation.

Grade: Submitted to failblog

Jonas Gustavsson

8-8-7 / 2.93 GAA / .904 Save %

If memory serves me right, 2 of those losses came in relief of Toskala. Needless to say, if The Monster started the season as the starter and didn't get injured, we would be in a much better position than we are in right now. Here's to a Toskala-free crease from now on.

Grade: B+